One of the most important aspects of brand marketing is what your consumers see. Whether it’s a logo for your company, a pamphlet cover, or even a label that you slap onto your product, graphic design is very important.
Chances are, you aren’t trained in graphic design nor do you have the time to learn the practice yourself. This is why many turn to 99designs for their graphic design needs – it aggregates the minds and talents of thousands of designers willing to complete your project, and you get to choose the one you like.
But this begs the question: is 99designs the best option for this task?
In this article, we highlight 5 alternatives to 99designs, some of which follow similar business models, and others which provide graphic design services through different structures.
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Why You Should Consider an Alternative to 99designs
There’s always a chance that one service is going to integrate with your current operations better than the other.
So how will you know if which one is the right choice for you?
We’re going to judge that based on four criteria:
- Pricing – Some services charge monthly payments, while others offer different payment options.
- Process – The way your graphic design requests are processed will likely differ from service to service, as will the channels of communication.
- Design Types – One service may only offer standard graphic design types, while another might offer a wider range of designs based on payment plans or by default.
- Value of plans – Different services may offer different plans that might fit your operational needs, and allow you to grow in the future.
First, let’s take a look at what 99designs has to offer…
The baseline: Overview of 99designs
Pricing: 99designs offers varying payment plans based on the designs you’re looking for. If you want designs for a company logo, 99designs’ standard plan starts at $299 and goes up to $1,299. You can also purchase web page design plans which start at $599 and cap at $2,499. You also pay the graphic designer after the completion of each project. For full 99desins pricing details click here.
Process: Users can submit a brief describing what they want their designs to look like, at which point you can either hire a designer or create a contest for multiple designers to submit their designs. You can pick your favorite design and iterate it until you’re satisfied with the product, at which point you’ll release payment and move on to your next project.
Design types: 99designs allow users to request projects for designs and other multimedia products with thousands of freelancers ready to work on them at any time. This includes logos, web pages, video production, book covers, brochures, even cups or mugs.
Plan value: Users can select four different payment plans that become more expensive but offer higher maximum submission requests, and access to more higher quality designers. All plans offer 100% money-back guarantees.
Read our full honest review of 99designs
Alternatives to 99designs
There are dozens of online graphic design services to choose from, but we’ve narrowed down 5 providers with some of the best productivity, design quality, pricing, and ease of use.
Kimp is an unlimited graphic design company, meaning users are allowed to submit as many design requests as they want for a flat monthly fee. This one plan offers a set of robust tools that other providers often charge much more for. One of Kimp’s greatest benefits is how they can work on 2 to 3 tasks at once, with up to 3 designers working on the same project at once.
Kimp vs. 99designs
Pricing: Kimp offers one plan at $389 a month. They also offer a 7 week free trial for new users.
Process: Users submit their design requests through Trello or by email, and receive their projects in a matter of days. You can give feedback and request revisions as well.
Design types: Kimp offers the standard set of graphic design options to choose from, including logos, infographics, billboards, and t-shirts.
Price value: Whereas other unlimited graphic design companies force users to pay for more expensive plans to gain access to specific types of projects or designs, Kimp’s single monthly fee covers all the basic designs for users to choose from.
DesignCrowd follows the crowd-sourcing business model of 99designs by allowing users to submit ideas for graphic designs or other projects, at which point they can receive unique designs from creators around the world to choose from. Users set their own prices for each project, providing more flexibility.
DesignCrowd vs. 99designs
Pricing: Employers set their budget for designs, but DesignCrowd exacts a posting fee of up to $59 which is non-refundable. Additionally, the platform also levies a 4% transaction fee as well as a 20% project management fee for projects costing over $200.
Process: Users complete a creative brief, then receive custom designs from creators around the world. They then select the ones they like and iterate upon it until they’re satisfied and can then download the files.
Design types: DesignCrowd offers over 50 different types of projects, ranging from logo and web design to print designs like brochures or even billboards. Art and illustration are also available, as are t-shirts and other merchandise.
Plan value: Since users set their budget for designs, there are no annual or monthly plans for DesignCrowd. Employers aren’t guaranteed access to a higher tier of designers or creators and are all generally on the same playing field.
Freelancer offers an open-ended graphic design freelancing service where users post project ideas on forms and connect with designers and creators interested in working for them. Although Freelancer was first designed to connect freelance designers with projects, they also offer a dedicated contest format much like 99designs.
Freelancer vs. 99designs
Pricing: Freelancers offers monthly plans that start at 99 cents and go up to $69 a month. They also offer a one-month free trial that allows users to try out the $9/month option for free.
Process: Users can post project requests describing what they want. Just like any other crowd-sourcing service, designers can submit their ideas for the user to choose from. Payments are sent out once any changes and revisions are made.
Design types: Freelancers allow contests for a variety of different projects including logos, websites, t-shirts, mobile apps, and business cards. They can even request artwork and the creation of entire domains.
Plan value: Each subsequent plan offers users more access to Freelancer’s services. For example, you only get one contest request per month for the cheapest plan but can get up to 30 for the most expensive plan. You also have a 100% money-back guarantee for each project you provide funds for.
Design Pickle is a pioneer of the unlimited graphic design business model and has inspired many other unlimited business companies since. The company is known for its affordable prices, quick turnarounds, and generally positive customer experiences.
Design Pickle vs. 99 Designs
Pricing: Design Pickle’s standard plan starts at $399 a month. You can save 5% if you choose to pay quarterly ($379 a month), or 10% if you choose to pay annually ($350 a month). They also offer a 14-day free trial.
Process: Users can request as many projects and revisions as they like through email or directly through the Design Pickle platform. You can only request one project at a time unless they have the Pro plan. Design Pickle is also Zapier-integrated (read our Zapier review).
Design types: Standard graphic designs such as illustrations, brochures, flyers, and infographics are offered. With the Pro plan, you also gain access to GIFs, PowerPoint slides, and other advanced features.
Price value: Although the standard plan offers plenty of features that most users will likely be satisfied with, the Pro plan allows for more than one project at one time on top of the most advanced design request options.
Fiverr is consistently cited as one of the premier freelancing websites. It takes out any middle-men between a client and a freelance graphic designer by putting them in direct contact with one another. The platform is known for its accessibility, quick turnarounds, and flexible price ranges.
Fiverr vs. 99designs
Pricing: Fiverr doesn’t have any fixed monthly payment options, unless you purchase the Fiverr Business plan for $149 a year. For most projects, however, you’ll pay whatever rate a freelance graphic designer proposes. This gives a cheaper alternative to fixed monthly prices, and allows users to contract multiple designers on different projects all while remaining in their budget.
Process: Users can select what type of graphic design they want by navigating the homepage. Once they choose their desired design, they’ll see a list of freelance designers who can provide those services. Users can filter their choices based on things like style, pricing, language, and delivery time. Once they find a freelancer they like, they can contact to discuss their project. The freelancer then delivers in a matter of days, the user can then approve or reject the submission.
Design types: If you want something designed that can reasonably be done by a graphic designer, you can probably find it on Fiverr. From logos, brochures, illustrations, flyers, book covers, to even graphics for streamers, there’s no shortage of design types on this platform.
Plan value: If you use the aforementioned Business plan, you’ll automatically be connected to the best designers for your needs. This, however, isn’t necessary, especially if you’re looking for cheaper alternatives to other graphic design services. As such, there are no plan-based services other than the Business plan, which allows users to contact anyone they want for their graphic design needs.
Winner: Best Alternative to 99Designs
Our recommendation for the best alternative to 99designs is Kimp.
Their unlimited design business model is also going to be cost-efficient for many users looking for a higher output of designs and other content. By paying a predetermined fee for an unlimited amount of designs, users are likely going to save plenty of money. The only time where wouldn't recommend Kimp is if you are looking at 99designs for web or mobile app design. In that case, we'd recommend using Design Pickle.
Kimp is able to work 2 to 3 design projects at once, which is roughly double or even triple the workload that many other unlimited graphic design companies offer. This should be more than enough for most small to midsize businesses, and if you need even greater output, you can always stack subscriptions.
Users that are worried about being paired with a graphic designer that ends up being a poor fit will be glad to know that Kimp employs up to three designers on a single project, each proficient at different graphic design styles.
Kimp also offers one single payment method, meaning you won’t have to pay extra to get extra features.
Overall, we recommend Kimp over other unlimited design services and other crowd-source providers for its affordability, versatility, and efficiency.
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